Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Green Thumb and a Too-Busy Gal

I often think, "What have I gotten myself into?!" When the alarm clock goes off at 5:30 and I find myself crawling back in bed late in the evening, this thought crosses my mind. When I tackle a mountain of laundry or finally get around to wrangling the dust bunnies in my house, this thought crosses my mind. When I'm hip deep in paperwork, logging miles in the Jeep, crunching numbers with farmers, or volunteering my time in my community, that little thought doesn't even occur to me!

My momma often tells me,"You're too busy!" My dog, Sophie, and my poor little garden would agree with her. That poor little garden started out as a new adventure for me. I've never put out my own garden. I grew up on fresh produce from my momma's garden. For years I watched her pick and clean and can veggies. I often got the fun task of cleaning the Mason jars for use in the canning process.  I can still remember tracing that Ball symbol on the jar for the first time, imagining my great grandmother using those same Ball jars to feed her family all those years ago.

I tried to grow a garden. I really did. I leveled the soil and I made all the preparations. I planted the seeds and a few plants, praying for a miracle to prove I could really grow something! Okay, looking back I realize planting seeds in May might not have been the best idea. In fact, now I know why my momma always bought pepper plants and tomato plants, among others. Nonetheless, I had faith in those little seeds! I watered and I added miracle gro to try to speed up the process. Eventually I had a little garden full of cute little plants.

I was so excited for all the peppers and tomatoes and broccoli and okra I was going to harvest. My mouth watered at the thought of the sweet corn I'd soon be harvesting!

Have you ever tried to grow a garden during a drought?

I learned an important lesson this summer. I realized the importance of using your resources to get ahead. I'm not talking about cheating. I'm not talking about being dishonest. I'm simply saying that if I had started that garden from plants instead of seed, I'd have been munching on delicious greens from my garden!

In life we talk about chasing our dreams and going after what we want. I would be willing to bet that some of the most successful entrepreneurs would agree that they had a little help along the way. You see, if I had applied for my current job right out of high school, I wouldn't have stood a chance. Instead, I used my resources to get an education and learn about AG sales before I tried to chase that dream job.

Sure life is busy. It's messy and chaotic, but I wish more people would take the time to try to grow something beautiful. Grow a garden. Grow some flowers. Grow yourself.

-The Mason Jar Diva

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Learning to Leap

In honor of Leap Day, and also for a little background noise, I put in my DVD copy of Leap Year. If you aren't familiar with one of the most famous traditions of Leap Day, I'd encourage you to watch the movie. (The handsome irish guy doesn't hurt either!)

The entire premise of the movie and the tradition is that on Leap Day a woman can propose to a man. In some of the older descriptions of the tradition its said that if the woman was turned down, the man owed her a kiss and a pair of gloves. Why gloves you ask? The only thing I can think of is so she doesn't get blisters on her hands when she digs a hole to bury her humiliation...or the idiot that turned her down!

Funny Somewhat Topical Ecard: I can't believe it's been only four years since you told the same leap year jokes.

I like to think that Leap Day is really just a chance to take a leap of faith. A day to step out of your comfort zone and do something different! So, I have to wonder, what did you do to celebrate this day that only comes around every four years? Did you stand up for something you believe in? Did you reach out to someone new? Did you, or your lady for you male readers, pop the question on this special day? Or maybe you took the tradition to a lesser extreme and just asked "that guy" out on a date. Whatever the action, I hope you leaped!

Tonight at bible study we continued our discussion on Mary of Bethany. If you're not familiar with her story, check out John 12: 1-8. Mary took a leap of faith when she did what she could. She knew that she couldn't do it all, but she did what she could to show her devotion to Jesus.

In our group we discussed ways that we could each "do what we could." As it turns out, many of the ideas that were brought up would require a little bit of leaping. When you think about it, isn't that what leaping is all about? Doing what you could, with all your faith, to make a difference in a life, the work place, or even our world.

Take a leap....You don't have to do it all, just do what you could.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Keeping New Year's Resolutions...or Maybe Not.

As I was reading through my blog today, I realized two things:
1. I don't post often enough.
2. Whatever happened to those New Year's resolutions I shared?!

So here, my friends, is an update!

1. Go to church regularly.
 I have started attending Center Christian Church regularly and have even gotten involved on a deeper level. It's kind of like the good ol breakfast analogy about the ham and eggs....the chicken was involved but the pig was committed. So, I have joined the church choir and attend Bible study every Wednesday night! Even through tough weeks (Last week was AWFUL...but more about that later.) it has helped to have support and prayers from the ladies in our Bible study group.

2. Join a Bible study group.
As mentioned above, I've joined a Bible study group at Center. We are currently studying the women of the Bible and I have to say that its been very inspiring!

3. Read more motivational/leadership books.
This is a goal, not only for personal improvement, but also to be a better Crop Insurance Specialist. As part of goal-setting for work, we have been encouraged to read a certain number of books per quarter. I'm currently reading two books, "5" and "Eat that Frog." Both are helping me to improve in both personal and professional aspects of my life. Next on the list is "The Total Money Makeover." Should be interesting...

4. Work out at least 3 times each week.
I started the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred last week and let me tell you....whew! Miss Michaels is kicking butt...mine in particular. Oh and I've amended it to a 60 Day Shred, repeating each weeks workouts for two weeks instead of one. Hopefully I'll be seeing even better results! Gotta be ready for bikkini season...

5. Find new ways to use my jars.
Sadly, this goal is receiving much less attention than the others, but I have started placing the jars around my house for decor. I need to buy hose clamps and a 2x4 for my bathroom jar project...I'll share photos when its completed!

I'd say I'm 4.5 for 5 at this point. I would like to add another to the list for 2012: 6. Find new ways to be an advocate for agriculture.

This goal is extremely important to me as we face more and more struggles every day in the world of agriculture. I have recently been elected to serve on the board for Rush County Farm Bureau and am involved with the county Young Farmer group. I try to share my farm story with others wherever I go, and would encourage others to do the same. It never ceases to amaze me how many people have no idea where their food/fiber really come from.

So as a way to commit to my #6 goal, you will start seeing more agvocacy here on my blog. Be sure to follow me over on Twitter as well!/jonaylor.

Have a great week everyone and Happy President's Day!


Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year, New Goals for the MJD

Well followers, (I hope I have some followers!) its been awhile. Did you think I disappeared? Life for the Mason Jar Diva (MJD) has been extremely busy and eventful. I should probably back up to the last blog post and fill you all in on what "extremely busy and eventful" includes.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at brother C's house and we enjoyed hanging out with little miss L and watching her silly 2 year old antics. We played some crazy game called Bezzerwizzer (I think thats what its called) in which we got to see who knew the most random trivia....and I'm pretty sure we'll never play it again considering we could barely figure it out!

In December, our family lost a true matriarch. My great-grandmother, Gladys Nobbe, passed away at the age of 102. She lived a long full life and was in good health until an unfortunate accident where she fell and broke her hip. We laid her to rest just a few days after Christmas, but her legacy lives on in the loved ones she left behind.

We had a fairly somber Christmas with family, given the circumstances. We did however, receive some exciting news....little miss L is going to have a little sister in May! We knew she would be a big sister before the holidays, but we didn't know if she would have a little sis or a little bro. For the longest time she told us she wanted a little sister named Brother!

The day after Grandma's funeral, I flew to Wisconsin for some much needed time away. I spent five days with my best friend, Miss Driver. We took down Madison the first night and celebrated many things by dancing the night away at Essenhaus....Polka and Boots of Beer! The epitome of Wisconsin culture! The rest of my vacation was spent with Driver up at her family cabin on Lake Wisconsin.

Waking up every morning to see the frozen lake with a mug of coffee in my hand and cozying up by the wood that's a vacation I could stay on!

We rang in the new year with friends in Merrimac and I have to of the best NYE's I've had in a long time!

I came back from Wisconsin refreshed and ready to head back to work...and its been non-stop ever since! Between diving into sales season and moving to my new place, life has been a bit chaotic.

Because I love mason jars, and all jars for that matter, I want to share some ideas for incorporating jars into my decor at the new house...Here's the funny part (or not so funny). My camera is dead and in the chaos of moving I can't find the charger. So if you want to see some ideas that I haven't gotten to yet, check out my pinterest boards at

I have some new goals for life and career for 2012 and I'll share my top 5 with you.

1. Go to church regularly.
2. Join a bible study.
3. Read more motivational/leadership books.
4. Work out at least 3 times each week.
5. Find new ways to use my jars.

The list goes on, but I won't bore you with the nitty gritty details of it. I hope 2012 is off to a great start for each of you!

Happy New Year- The MJD

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ahhh....The Peanut Butter Jar

After a long day at the office, I came home with the task to fix supper for everyone. I poked through the refrigerator and freezer looking for something easy to fix....after much deliberation, I went for the spaghetti. I felt a little guilty knowing how quick and easy this meal would be so I decided to put on the apron for a little baking...

My mom has this ancient cook book with some of the best recipes in it. A few nights ago I attempted to make a blackberry turned into a cobbler after I had a disagreement with the pie crust. Albeit a very tasty cobbler, I was a little disappointed I had failed at my original mission. So tonight I decided to try the pie again, only this time I decided to try something completely new.

I have never made a peanut butter pie before, but I've eaten plenty! This being a new adventure in my cooking endeavors, I decided to document it. Many thanks to my sous chef, Momma Naylor!

 The "ancient" cook book...
 You just can't go wrong with Jif!

 These nifty little 1/2 pint ball jars are perfect for pre-measured ingredients!
 Check out the vintage apron...

 Homemade crust...fluted, forked and ready for the oven!
Let the whisking begin...

 Yolks for the filling, whites for the meringue.
 The sous chef. :)


 If you haven't worked with meringue, give it a Momma Naylor says, "It's fun!"
 And maybe the most important part of the whole process...lick the bowl when done with the meringue!

And there you have it....the infamous Peanut Butter pie!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fun Fall Jars from Ball Jars

I've recently discovered Pinterest...and I love it! There are some really cool ideas for mason jars on there. I love to decorate for the seasons and I found some cute ideas that would be easy to make. Check out the "Pins" I found! I've got some crafting to of my own work to come soon!

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Pinned Image

~The Mason Jar Diva~

The Mason Jar Diva

This new blog is a way to showcase a little creativiy and my love for antique (and some new) jars. Over the past three years I have collected quite a few jars. My favorites are the unique and the different. I love the jars that still have their glass lids or have been re-fashioned into something unique. For this inaugural entry I'll just show you a few of the jars I've collected and how I've used them to be a little creative around the house. Enjoy!